Palm has made it official: in December, they will facilitate any developer to distribute any app to any Pre owner: directly and easily. The lingering questions about whether 'sideloading' (allowing users to install apps directly instead of through the app catalog) and whether their policies regarding app distribution and open source software have all been resolved in one fell swoop. The resolution, as Derek wrote, is that any developer can submit their app to Palm, who will then provide an URL which will directly install the app -- Palm won't hinder, review, or otherwise throw up roadblocks. There are more details from the developer relations team here and though in this giddy, late hour I don't see devils in those details, it's possible they could be there.
Really, really awesome news. Totally changes my thoughts on the Pre (yeah, people are probably getting whiplash by now). If the Pre makes it to Verizon this will definitely be my next phone.